Coalition forms to ramp up the fight against third runway
Campaign groups, local authorities and leading politicians, all opposing a third runway at Heathrow, have got together to form a major new coalition that is being launched on Tuesday 21st March.
The coalition is formally backed by 18 local campaign groups, including Stop Heathrow Expansion, Airportwatch, Teddington Action Group and recently formed BASH Runway 3 (based in Brentford). More groups are expected to join in the coming weeks. The coalition also has the support of five local authorities as well as leading politicians.
The No Third Runway Coalition, as it has been suitably named, aims to put additional pressure on the Government to drop plans for a new runway at Heathrow. Pooling resources, ideas and expertise will enable opposition to gather strength for the battle to beat this expansion once and for all.
John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes & Harlington, said: “The formation of this new powerful coalition is a breakthrough moment for the campaign against a third runway. As more information comes out about air pollution, the environmental threat and the costs of the runway the debate is beginning to shift significantly against Heathrow expansion. This new initiative has my 100% support.”
Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for Hammersmith, said: “This is the biggest coalition of opponents to Heathrow’s reckless expansion yet seen. Bringing together experts, residents and politicians of all parties shows we mean business and are in it for the long haul. We are determined to stop the new runway and the blight it will bring to millions of lives.”
The work of the coalition will include highlighting the failings of the Department for Transport’s consultation on Heathrow expansion. The consultation, which runs until 25 May 2017, has seen 20 local exhibition events across west London, Berkshire and Surrey. However, considerable numbers of residents were left disappointed when they attended the events and looked at the display boards. For example, the total destruction of a vast area with the loss of thriving communities and the displacement of thousands of people was described as "some negative impacts". There was also no information on new flightpaths to enable residents in areas that would suffer considerable noise to could give an informed consultation response.
Tania Mathias, Conservative MP for Twickenham, said: “The coalition is critical in this period of consultations: all communities need to know the flight paths of a proposed Heathrow third runway; every community affected is concerned about the increase in noise and air pollution and the financial costs for all taxpayers.”
Sarah Olney, Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park & North Kingston, said: “I am delighted to be part of this cross-party coalition, working together to oppose a third runway at Heathrow. Working together will give us greater resources to challenge the myths and misinformation that the public are being fed by Heathrow and the Department for Transport on the supposed benefits of Heathrow expansion."
Zac Goldsmith, who supports the coalition, said: "The threat of Heathrow expansion has brought together people from across the flight path and beyond, with new local campaign groups forming all the time. The No Third Runway Coalition will give them all a platform, allow them to work more effectively together and provide support for everyone from MPs to the heroic local Councils who are challenging Heathrow in our courts."
Commenting on the coalition's aims, Robert Barnstone, SHE's campaign coordinator who is undertaking the same role for the coalition, said: “Our purpose is to build on the excellent work that has already been done by the existing campaign groups, the local authorities and many MPs. We will increase our lobbying of MPs and be mounting a major campaign to get as many residents as possible to respond to the current consultation.”
The coalition twitter account is @NoR3Coalition. A website will be launched shortly.